Crohn’s disease, also known as inflammatory bowel disease, causes chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and can be painful for those living with this disorder.
It is caused by an abnormal response by the immune system. However, while it’s commonly mistaken with ulcerative colitis, it is in fact different. The latter is a disease which only impacts the larger intestine.
How many types of Crohn’s disease are there?
There are five different types of Crohn’s disease, each pertaining to the different regions in the digestive tract. It’s possible for someone to have more than one type at the same time. The types include:
- Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease
- Crohn’s Colitis
What are some of the common symptoms?
The symptoms differ from patient to patient and are also dependent on the type of Crohn’s disease.
The most common type of Crohn’s is Ileocolitis with symptoms including abdominal pain in the lower or middle part of the abdomen. It also causes diarrhea and weight loss. Those who might have Ileitis also experience the same symptoms.
Symptoms for Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease include losing appetite, vomiting, and nausea resulting in excessive weight loss.
Jejunoileitis can result in moderate to severe cramps and pain in the abdomen especially after consuming food followed by diarrhea.
Crohn’s colitis can cause rectal bleeding as well as diarrhea. It is also more severe since it can lead to ulcers in the anus and lesions on the skin along with pain in joints.
Some of the more general symptoms include mouth sores, fistula, and bloody stool. While some feel the urge to defecate immediately, others might feel constipated. It can cause disruptions in children’s development as well women’s menstruation.
People may have episodes of the disease flaring up followed by a period of remission. It can become quite challenging for people to live with the pain and might also cause them to withdraw themselves socially.
Who does it impact the most?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up until 2015 there were approximately 3.1 million adults in the United States who were diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease.
The prevalence of this disease varied with age, ethnicity, education, and a range of socio-economic factors.
As per the research conducted by Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, this disease impacts close to 800,000 Americans. Children are more likely to get a diagnosis for Crohn’s as ulcerative colitis with boys developing IBD more often than girls. Females, on the other hand, are more likely to get Crohn’s disease than men.
Smokers are at a higher risk of developing the disease as well as those with a family history of the disease which means there is a fairly high genetic disposition to it.
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